Administrative Arrangements Orders

Under the Administrative Arrangements Act 1983, the Governor in Council can make Administrative Arrangements Orders (AAOs).

AAOs are primarily used to deem that references to a Minister, departments or officer in Acts and instruments under Acts be construed as described in the AAO (for example, where responsibilities have been reallocated by a new general order from a Minister named in an Act to another Minister).

AAOs can also include transitional or savings provisions for the continuation / completion of tasks commenced by (or under the authority of) an agency from which the functions are being transferred. An AAO is usually required when a new general order or supplement has been made. It ensures that the administrative arrangements are in place to allow references to a Minister, department or officer to be consistent with the currently intended allocation of responsibilities.

AAOs are published in the Government Gazette.

Administrative office

Administrative offices are public service bodies established in relation to a department by the Governor‑in-Council under section 11 of the Public Administration Act.

Base review

A comprehensive review undertaken by the Department of Treasury and Finance of efficiency, effectiveness and / or appropriateness of price.


Body of appointed or elected directors who oversee the activities of a company or organisation.

Body corporate

An incorporated body, establishing the entity as a ‘legal body’ with responsibilities and provisions.


The principal decision making body of the Government. It consists of all Ministers of the Crown and the Parliamentary Secretary of Cabinet (also known as Cabinet Secretary). The Premier, as the leader of the Government is the Chair of the Cabinet. Cabinet is a formal meeting of Ministers but has no legal powers.

Charter letter

See portfolio priority letter.


Departments are the central policy offices and program administrators for Ministers and the Government.


An instruction directed towards a board, or officers of an entity by a Minister or other public official with power to issue directions. The power to issue a direction may stem from legislation but a Minister has an inherent power to issue relevant and lawful directions to an entity within the Minister’s responsibility. An entity must abide by a lawful direction addressed to it.

Establishing legislation

An Act of Parliament, set of regulations, statutory instrument or other document setting out the powers, functions and organisational structure of an entity.

Executive Council

The Executive Council, described in section 87A of the Constitution Act 1975, legally exercises the executive authority of the state. Through the council, Ministers tender advice to the Governor about the appropriate exercise of the powers and functions delegated by Parliament to the executive. When acting formally on the advice of the Executive Council, the Governor is acting as ‘Governor in Council’.

Executive government

The executive is responsible for the administration of laws passed by Parliament and the delivery of public services. The executive comprises the Governor, Premier, Ministers and the administrative agencies of government such as departments and public bodies.

Financial audit

Review of the financial statements of a department or other public body to provide an independent opinion on whether the statements are relevant, accurate, complete and fairly presented.

Freedom of Information

Victoria’s Freedom of Information Act 1982 promotes public accountability by giving people the right to access documents held by government agencies. Under the Act documents can be obtained from Ministers, departments, local councils, most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities, public hospitals and community health centres, universities, TAFE institutes and schools. Requests for access to documents are made directly to the public body holding the documents.

Gateway reviews

Gateway reviews provide a structured process whereby short structured reviews are carried out at decision points in a program or project’s life cycle, known as gateways. Gateway reviews are carried out by a review team consisting of experts or practitioners who are independent of the team managing or running the program or project. A gateway review is designed to be applied to high or medium risk projects involving:

  • the procurement of services, construction, property or information technology
  • change management projects
  • any other projects or procurements using contracts.

Gateway reviews should be undertaken on:

  • projects rated as medium or high risk on the project profile model
  • projects nominated by any cabinet committees.

General order

General orders are made by the Premier. They allocate responsibility for administering legislation to one or more ministerial portfolios.

General orders and supplements can be found on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.

Governor of Victoria

The Governor of Victoria represents the Queen in her capacity as Queen of Australia. The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Premier and acts as Victoria’s Head of State.

Internal Procurement Unit

Each department has an Internal Procurement Unit (IPU) that is responsible for ensuring that procurement activity complies with Victorian Government Purchasing Board policy. The IPU assesses the department’s procurement capability and prepares a capability development plan on an annual basis. It also identifies major procurement categories and reports annually to the accountable officer on the department’s procurement activities.

Legislative Assembly

The Lower House of the Parliament of Victoria.

Legislative Council

The Upper House of the Parliament of Victoria.

Machinery of government changes

Changes in the allocation of functions between departments and Ministers.


A member of the Government, appointed by the Governor on the Premier’s recommendation to be responsible for an area of administration. He or she is also a member of the Cabinet and a member of the Executive Council.

Parliamentary committee

A parliamentary committee consists of a group of members of Parliament who conduct enquiries and make recommendations about topics of interest to Parliament.

Performance audit

An audit which evaluates whether an organisation or government program is achieving its objectives effectively, economically, efficiently and in compliance with all relevant legislation.


The specific set of policy responsibilities that a Minister oversees.

Portfolio Minister

The Minister responsible for the portfolio in which an entity is located. For example, the portfolio Minister for VicRoads is the Minister for Roads.

Portfolio priority letters

Letter from the Premier to individual Ministers which outlines policy priorities and expectations for the Minister’s portfolio.

Public entity

Entities that undertake a public function or are owned by government. A public entity is established by an Act of Parliament, Governor in Council or a Minister. In the case of a body corporate, at least one half of the directors are appointed by the Governor in Council or a Minister.

Public sector

The public service, public entities and special bodies.

Public service

The public service consists of persons employed under Part 3 of the Public Administration Act. It includes public service bodies (such as departments, administrative offices and the Victorian Public Sector Commission), as well as public entities and special bodies that employ staff under Part 3.

Special body

Public bodies listed in section 6 of the Public Administration Act or declared to be a special body by the Governor in Council. They are exempt from certain provisions of the Act.

Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance

The Directions supplement the Financial Management Act by prescribing mandatory elements (procedures) that must be complied with by all Victorian Public Service bodies.

The three high-level components of the directions include:

  • Financial management governance and oversight
  • Financial management structure, systems, policies and procedures
  • Financial management reporting

The Financial Reporting Directions are mandatory and must be consistently applied in the preparation and presentation of annual financial reports.

Statement of Expectations

The Statement of Expectations sets out the Minister’s expectations of public entities including their objectives, strategic priorities and performance targets.

Statutory authority

A public entity that is created by specific legislation to deliver a government service. A statutory authority can be governed by a board (with multiple directors) or governed by an individual appointee.

Supplementary order

From time to time, the Premier supplements the current general order. A supplement varies the allocation of responsibility for legislation between ministerial portfolios. It may be used either to change the allocation of existing legislation, or to include newly enacted legislation. This means that the current general order needs to be read considering all subsequent supplements.

When a new general order is made, the arrangements set out in any previous supplements will be consolidated into the new general order.

General orders and supplements can be found on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.

Victorian Government Purchasing Board

The Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB) sets the policies that govern procurement of non-construction goods and services in all Victorian departments and some public bodies.

The VGPB’s functions in relation to the supply of goods and services to departments and the management and disposal of goods by departments include:

  • developing, implementing and reviewing policies and practices
  • providing advice, staff training and consultancy services
  • monitoring departmental compliance with supply policies and ministerial directions and reporting irregularities to the relevant Minister and the Assistant Treasurer
  • fostering improvements in the use and application of purchasing systems and electronic trading
  • establishing and maintaining a comprehensive database of purchasing data of departments and supply markets for access by departments.